I wrote this the day after the election and decided to sit on it to see if I felt the same way in a week. I do.
Now the work begins – again.
I cried when Warren won. And then when Baldwin won. And then Obama. And then finally when we won our race – Gallego.
I felt really conflicted throughout the night – and guilty, too. My friends are pretty darn undocumented, and even with deferred action, the road ahead is difficult, not to mention the fact that the detention-industrial complex is swallowing more and more people every day, picking people up for playing their music loudly and committing minor traffic violations. That’s what we got, and yet Latinos turned out to vote for Obama in record numbers.
And yet there I was, happy. The first time I worked on the Obama campaign in 08, I told people that it was important for little African American girls and boys to have someone who looked like them in the history books. I still feel that way. My parents called me when they were waiting in line to vote. They were excited. My mother’s first ever vote in her life was to oust Pinochet in the 80s. Her second ever was for Obama.
I also have to say that this past year is the first time in a long time that I have felt personally attacked; that’s a privilege, because I know my undocumented friends have to get up every single day and reckon with a world that treats them like second class people. I felt maybe a little bit of that this past year, when I had to hear imbeciles discuss what kind of rape is legitimate and abstract upon the mechanisms of the female body. It made me want to sit in a corner of a room, curl up, and cry. For brief moments, I felt like nothing.
So winning was important. It was really important. It wasn’t about the politicians themselves, because I know power corrupts no matter what, but it was about the fact that people voted for the right ideas (even if the true actions of these politicians were misrepresented). It restores a lot of optimism for me in the people of this country. Gay marriage? Cool. DREAM Act? Down with that. She’s gay? Atheist? Nice. Hindi? Immigrant? Check, check.
It’s the ultimate survey and the ultimate poll. We’re on our way. The dirty work, the hard work, the definitely less-glamorous work, begins again.